|Sun, Apr 20, 2014 10:17 PM
January 15, 2014 | 10:25 AM
For two quarters, it looked like the host Floyd Central Highlanders were going to give unbeaten Corydon Central a run for its money Friday night on Joe Hinton Court. The Panthers, however, pulled out all the stops in the third period to pull away and earn a 65-34 win, improving their season record to 8-0.
"There was some rust there," Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said of his team which hadn't played since winning the Perry-Spencer Holiday Classic. "We hadn't played in almost two weeks. Some of that is to (Floyd Central's) credit. Their kids played hard and got out."
Floyd Central coach Mark Lieberman was at a loss as to what happened to his team in the second half but hoped to find the answers in his left hand.
Floyd Central's Myles Ervin, left, finds out what it is like to feel the heat from brothers Timothy (5) and Tommy Wiseman in the second half of Corydon Central's 65-34 win Friday. Photo by Wade Bell (click for larger version)
"I have the film in my left hand, and I'm going to look at it," Lieberman said, holding a video disk in its case. "They're a good team. That's first and foremost. They're experienced. They know who they need to get the ball to. They play a pack-line defense and really tucked it in."
The first four minutes of the first period was a near trade fest as both teams went back and forth. Mike Lewis scored in the paint, keeping Floyd Central within two, 11-9, and sending the Panthers to the bench in a time-out. Following the break, both teams struggled with turnovers and missed shots until Brayden Lander and Mitchell Frederick hit jumpers, giving Corydon Central a 15-9 cushion. Myles Ervin got the last basket of the period to pull Floyd Central back within four, 15-11, at the end of the period.
Floyd Central converted off a Corydon Central turnover early in the second quarter as Brandon Smith buried a three-ball and moments later J.C. Kinnaird sank two freebies, giving the Highlanders a 16-15 edge. Corydon Central responded with a 7-0 burst to go back in front, 22-16. Ervin hit a 10-footer, but Lander countered. Timothy Wiseman scored inside and added a pair from the charity stripe, pushing the Panthers' advantage back to six. Ervin scored in the final seconds, cutting Floyd Central's deficit to four, 26-22, at halftime.
"Our angles were kind of bad guarding their screens early," Kolkmeier said. "We were stepping over their fifth screen with the wrong foot. Our hedges were a little sloppy. They weren't at the angle. Then we tried to rectify that by getting the hedge too far out away from the screen, just simple technique stuff."
"We're into good early shots," Lieberman said. "We want good early shots and not bad quick shots. That's the kind of our focus of our offense. We try to push the tempo. I think we forced some stuff and didn't get the ball moving."
Corydon Central brought down the hammer on the Highlanders in the third period. The Panthers scored the first two baskets of the period, the second being a monster dunk by junior center Bronson Kessinger. Cameron Simpson scored Floyd Central's only points with a three on the Highlanders' next possession. Corydon Central scored the next 18 points, highlighted by a second Kessinger jam, as the Panthers took a 48-25 lead. The Highlanders were unable to recover in the fourth quarter and fell 65-34.
"We were able to clean up some of those things and fix some of our mistakes the second half," Kolkmeier said. "We still turned the ball over the second half too much, but we were able to get things done on the defensive end and turn those into easy points on the other end."
Corydon Central put four players in double figures with Bronson Kessinger leading the way with 22, 10 of those in the third period. Brayden Lander finished with 12, while Timothy Wiseman and Mitchell Frederick had 11 each. The Panthers connected on 26 of 48 field goals (54 percent) and 12 of 15 free throws. Corydon Central had 17 turnovers.
"We just had to clean up our passing and get a little stronger with the ball and deal with their pressure," Kolkmeier said. "Their pressure forced us to play too fast ... We cleaned up all those angles and did a much better job on the ball screen. That was the key. They kept running ball screen at us. We'd like to think we're OK at guarding that and it wasn't our best first half."
Myles Ervin led Floyd Central (1-8) with 11 points. The Highlanders had a horrendous shooting night, hitting just 12 of 51 field goals (23 percent), and were five of 33 from behind the arc but made five of six free throws to go with 23 turnovers.
"We had bad floor balance and we took some quick shots, and it led to some run-outs because of that," Lieberman said. "All of a sudden, instead of being down four at the half, we're down eight or 10 or 12. All of sudden, players at this level of high school, or even at the college level, think there's 15- or 18-point plays. Then it becomes a one on one and all of sudden you get engulfed into a 20-point deficit and you just can't overcome that."
Kolkmeier said he thought his team had the potential to be unbeaten at this point in the season but wasn't sure if it would happen.
"I knew if we played well, we had the chance to be (8-0)," he said. "I'm proud of our guys because we had to this point answered questions. They've made adjustments in order to do that. It's having older, mature kids who can deal with it. Once in a while, as a coach, we're going to tell you you're not doing this very well. 'You're playing weak, you're playing soft. Your technique is bad. You don't value the basketball.' Sometimes kids can take that stuff personally. The thing is, can you not take it too personally but take it personally enough to fix the mistake and, at this point this year, our kids have."
Corydon Central 15 11 22 17 – 65
Floyd Central 11 11 3 9 – 34
Corydon Central (8-0) – Ti. Wiseman 11. To. Wiseman 5, Coffman 4, Lander 12, Frederick 11, Kessinger 22
Floyd Central (1-8) – Ervin 11, Kinnaird 7, Kimm 3, Lewis 2, Smith 3, Simpson 6, Nichols 2
3-point goals – Corydon Central 1 (Ti. Wiseman); Floyd Central 5 (Kinnaird, Kimm, Smith, Simpson 2).